Eric Blanc's book Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strikes and Working-Class Politics is about the remarkable 2018-2019 educators' strikes that began in red states. It shows how successful labor struggles can be waged even in the seemingly unlikeliest of places and is a useful case study of one of the most important fights of our time.
In the time since these strikes, however, educators have struggled. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that fights over school funding were sidelined, as teachers had to fight just to keep their classrooms free of coronavirus, and try to keep up teaching in an impossible situation. With the pandemic's severity having subsided now, it may be the case that we once again start seeing the kind of labor activism among educators that we saw in 2018-19.
Certainly, that is the case in Minneapolis, where public school teachers are currently in a major strike. Eric has written about this strike for the Nation magazine, and it forms the basis of our discussion in this episode. We talk about why the Minneapolis action is happening (and why it's happening in Minneapolis instead of another public school system), the history of educators' organizing, the possibility that what's going on in Minneapolis will spread, and the factors that determine whether striking educators will succeed or fail.